Road traffic accident claims are an all too common occurrence and can happen for a number of different reasons. Road crash claims are the most common of all personal injury claims presented to solicitors and to the Injuries Board. If the cause of the car accident or other road traffic accident was not your fault then you may be entitled to claim for damage to your car, any personal injuries sustained and any additional expenses incurred as a result of the car accident, amongst others.

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How to establish liability

One of the first things you need to decipher after being in a road accident is who is liable for any potential damages. 

If you aren’t sure which party is at fault when involved in a road traffic accident take the following factors into account:

  • In the majority of circumstances, liability is held with the party who collided with the vehicle in front of them.
  • If you couldn’t predict the collision and feel like there was nothing more you could’ve done (on top of the right steps already carried out) to avoid the collision you may not be held liable.
  • How quick did people react to changes in circumstances while driving? WHere they distracted by something else that took their concentration off the road?
  • Is there any evidence? Is there any proof in showing liability, such as a witness and a dashboard camera, ect.? This can be vital when establishing who was at fault in causing a minor road traffic accident.

Steps to making a claim

1. Report the Accident

It is important that you report the accident as soon as possible to the local Garda and your car insurance company. The Gardai may or may not attend the scene of the crash. This will depend on how serious the accident was. In cases where the Gardai decide not to attend the scene of the crash, it is important that you visit your local Gardai station as soon as possible. In order to give a full statement of the accident. Do not make admit any liability at the scene of the accident to the Gardai or to the other parties involved in the accident. 

2. Document the Accident

Once you have phoned the Gardai and reported the accident, it is important that you gather as much information as possible there and then. Here is a list of the important information that you will need to collect and do when involved in a car accident.

  • Details of the driver’s car registration, insurance company and policy number
  • Name of the Gardai and station you spoke with
  • The vehicle’s location on the road and the direction of the traffic at the point of collision
  • Name, address, telephone number of the other driver
  • Name, address, telephone number of any witnesses to the accident
  • Take photographs
3. Speak to a Solicitor

After being involved in a road accident and if you are considering moving forward with a claim for any personal injuries or material damages sustained it is advisable that you speak with a road accident claims solicitor as soon as possible. 

If proceeding with a claim the first step will be submitting your claim to the Injuries Board for assessment. 

It is Important to remember to keep copies of any expenses that you have incurred as a result of the accident and also retain copies of medical reports or Garda reports, where possible as you will need them when making a claim.

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Common causes of Road Accidents

According to the Injuries Board, road traffic accidents are the most common source of claims – 75% of the settlements in Ireland are awarded as a result of car crashes. The most common factors that lead to serious personal injuries and fatalities on the road are:

  • Speeding
  • Driving under the influence of alcohol
  • Driver fatigue (driving while tired)
  • Failure to wear a seatbelt
  • Weather conditions that lead to hazardous driving
  • Merging traffic

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